After reviewing Salon's most recent Google Analytics traffic data with our editorial staff, I thought it made sense to share with Salon readers, too, particularly those on Open Salon, where our readers are also writers, and very much a crucial part of the whole Salon ecosystem. I'm also using this as a kick-off post, and I'll occasionally post about Salon here and answer questions as time permit. I miss blogging on Open -- it's a good excuse to start again.
One quick point: For almost any Web publication, the measure of success is the MUV (monthly unique visitors). Page views, or "clicks," matter too, of course. But MUVs is what largely matters most to potential advertisers, naturally, and it also let's us chart our progress in a logical way.
January was a good month for us. Here's a look:
We hit 5.4 million unique visitors in January, a 20.4 percent increase over January 2010. (And, candidly, we're doing that after a significant cut in our editorial budget, after necessary, recessionary belt-tightening.)
This follows strong, steady growth over the past year:
We notched a steady 26.5 percent growth in total monthly uniques in 2010 over 2009. And if I were to pinpoint a single reason for our sustained growth it's been a doubling-down on our core areas of coverage: Politics, pop culture and lifestyle. You can see some of that reflected in our top five biggest stories on Salon for the month of January:
1). Why I can't stop reading Mormon housewife blogs (218,005 page views)
2). The modesty of the porn generation (144,168)
3). To all the girls who envy my life (118,047)
4). The sexual cost of female success (94,888)
5). Sarah Palin will never be president (77,040)
Ironically, for a decent traffic month, those are slightly low totals for our top five. We did, however, have about a dozen or so other stories (including a handful from our great new TV writer, Matt Zoller Seitz) finishing closely behind.
We're zeroing-in on our core areas for the future, as we plan to spin off some of more of our identifiable brands (like War Room, in politics) in bigger, more exciting ways. And we'll be creating a few new ones, too. I'll post on that as we get closer to building them out.
None of this, though, should surprise regular Salon readers. The single most common reader mail we've received through the years probably follows a basic structure of: I love that you publish X, but I hate that you publish Y! It's sometimes political readers who despise our cultural coverage, or entertainment readers who hate our political coverage, or some similar variation. The truth is, Salon as a brand is broader than many dedicated readers, who come for their specific addiction, fully realize. Creating sites devoted purely to our key brand areas, we think, will make readers who come to Salon for that one thing, much happier.